Ask a BJJ Black Belt and Retired BJJ Champion Competitor:
Our Head Coach, BJJ Blackbelt and former competitive Champion, Christian Montes answers your questions about the most popular Martial Art today, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
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What is the difference between Gracie Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Gracie Jiu-jitsu is the Gracie family brand of Japanese Jiu-Jitsu/Judo which they modified through years of trial and error, originally passed down to them by Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese Judo expert and avid prize-fighter (who had fought all over the world) The underlying principles of GJJ focus on effective self defense against a larger and heavier opponent. It is often said that “All Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has roots in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, but not all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. This distinction calls to attention that while the modern sport of tournament BJJ has evoked growth and evolution in the movement and strategies of grappling, it has strayed from its self-defense roots where these strategies would be applicable in anything other than a sport specific competitive setting.
What is the point of Jiu Jitsu?
The practice of Jiu-Jitsu is characterized by the application of control strategies, involving the maximum use of leverage to your advantage, against a resisting opponent with the ultimate goal of subduing them via pinning position and eventual submission, typically a joint lock or choke. This is the overall strategy and goal whether in competition or street encounter
What are the belt ranks in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
The Belt Ranks for BJJ (for adults) are: White, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black Belt
Which is better BJJ or MMA?
This will depend on your goals and personal preference - MMA will offer access to striking/takedown emphasis and more a ballistic modality of training that comes with that, which also brings with it the risk of injury associated with those training elements. BJJ will focus mostly on grappling, while not uncommon to learn takedowns, the vast majority of BJJ training typically takes place in the ground, mitigating the chance of injury (if premature introduction into sparring. Is also avoided) and will yield the benefits of a deeper understanding that comes only focusing on one (major) aspect of fighting as opposed to spreading yourself to through three disciplines or more.
Why is Jiu Jitsu so effective?
There are many reasons why Jiu-Jitsu is effective, particularly when compared to other more traditional striking martial arts, the most obvious is that it specializes in a range where a serous combat encounter most typically happens, in the clinch or grappling range. Even two combatants who are committed to striking each other, will through aggressive force unwittingly find themselves in this range and often be unable to avoid it if they do commit to exerting any form of offense (think of how often you see two pro boxers clinch or two street brawlers headlock each other and hit the ground) The other more nuanced element that makes Jiu-Jitsu so effective is their training methodology which places a premium on accomplishing their strategic combat goals against a resisting opponent. But unlike the striking arts, whose frequency of striking sparring is limited by nature of high impact injuries (usually in an effort to prevent major head trauma) BJJ sparring typically does not involve striking and this affords them the opportunity to spar much more frequently and often with a higher intensity that would not be possible with any consistency in the striking arts. This amplified time of perfecting their techniques in a resisting opponent tends to hone their skills more sharply.
What is the highest belt in Jiu Jitsu?
The Red Belt is the highest and usually reserved for practioners with the greatest contribution to furthering the art. It's usually awarded as 9th and 10th degree holders, with the 10th degree only awarded to the pioneering founders of the art.
Why train BJJ?
Training in BJJ is empowering. It is the only martial art that allows the practioner to safely experience mental, emotional and physical pressure in a controlled environment. The practice of Jiu Jitsu allows safe iterations needed to improve on their last response to this pressure. Constantly improving their response and eventually elevating their skills and confidence both on and off the mat.
What should I wear to my first class?
Gracie Jiu Jitsu relies on the use of a Jiu Jitsu Gi, not merely as a uniform, but a training tool to place both athletic and non-athletic practioners on equal footing. The Gi, allows for 'handles' on collars, lapels and sleeves to slow the pace of the practice and focus more on technical responses rather than athletics bursts of strength during a sparring session.
What is BJJ?
BJJ is an acronym for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, an offshoot of Japanese Judo. BJJ focuses on classical Judo's ground-based submisison and position techniques. It was widely practiced in Brazil by many pioneer Brazilian Masters but was brought into the mainstream and popularized by the famous Gracie family. The Gracie Family developed their own system of practicing the martial art - called Gracie Jiu Jitsu.
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